Japan: "Cafe Photo" filmtastic

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by bjorke, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    It took forever to find this thing on the web.

    "The coffee photo magazine - the magazine of the photograph which is enjoyed with the full coffee."

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I ran across a copy of #1 at Kinokuniya. Shot on Polaroid, Hasselblad 503, Rolleiflex, Canon F-1, a Horizon, some toy cameras, lots of Tri-X, and just two shots made with a Ricoh GRD which were then hybrid-printed ....

    The whole magazine shot by ONE GUY, "Issaque Foujita" whos name comes up in quite a few yahoo auction listings....

    Anyone know anything more? This seems to be conneced to the "cameras are accesories for beautiful women" axis of Japanese photography (esp. nostalgic cameras, so you can look like Audrey Hepburn?) -- you see it in lots of ads or the little book "We Love Holga" -- is it a camera book, or a fashion book? The second issue of "Cafe Photo" comes attached to "Woman Camera" magazine...





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    In related news, the current PHAT (normally not my cup of ocha) contains a feature on Brian Ulrich :smile:
     
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  2. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    This looks like his (new) blog and it's linked to another magazine called, "Photo Technique" where he contributes articles:

    http://www.genkosha.com/kimagure/

    I don't know anything about him partly because I don't subscribe usually any magazines. But I will take a look at the copy of the Cafe Photo magazine when I have a chance. Thanks for the info.
     
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  3. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

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    It's a camera(photography) book, saying "a magazine for those who enjoy photography with a cup of coffee".
    Very relaxing way of photography. Issaku Fujita is a popular writer for that kind of essay.


    >> The second issue of "Cafe Photo" comes attached to "Woman Camera" magazine...
    This one.
    http://www.amazon.co.jp/女子カメラ―かわいい-素敵-キレイの瞬間をデジタル一眼レフでキャッチ/dp/4898146996
    It's a camera magazine for (young?) women especialy for beginners, "what is SLR?" or something like that.
     
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  4. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Wow, so... he's like the Roger Hicks of Japan? :smile:
     
  5. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Kunihiko-san might have a better idea because I really don't know the scene, but according to my google search, which I didn't find that much of his information, he is a columnist of some kind...

    But I also have read somewhere that he's a self-taught photographer, not previously trained in any photo school or anything at all.
     
  6. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Rinko Kawauchi seems an important touchstone for this broad theme of Japanese photo/media, though that first issue of Cafe has an obvious semblance to HCB's famous little wine carrier.

    [​IMG]

    It seems like every teen girl wanted to be Hiromix a couple years back, now as young mom-aged women with SLRs they want to be Rinko?

    What exactly IS "exhaustion system"?
     
  7. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Where did you see the "exhaustion system"? I have no idea, though.

    And about Kawauchi, Hiromix, and HCB etc, I would say this. The area of professional photography over here seems pretty narrow-scoped, so whoever fits in and can play in it will be known to the public. Hiromix was and probably still is a cult phenomenon and perceived more like a rock star. On the other hand, the work of Kawauchi is more like an ideal life-style icon of a sub-culture. HCB fits all of above, always treated as god-like both in the mainstream and the non-mainstream, and he's still known as a photojournalist, so he gets the game everywhere. Also, some of his photo prints are stored in several museums within the country, and every once in a while, quite randomly though, they get shown.

    But as far as the trend goes, I don't really know what aspires and makes people desire. We live in a very mixed-up (and I personally say, "confused") popular culture here. It's like asking how do they extract small pieces of information that goes though them everyday? But then there's this ideal-life style thing that some people want to pursue, and if I'm not mistaken, that's what the concept of Cafe Photo magazine seems to be. It sort of encourages amateurs to "go take a walk with your everyday-use camera, and snap a few photos and live happily", etc. For amateur photography I think every generation has that, but I think it's more segmented with more choices of material goods.

    There is a man named, "Akasegawa" who is quite famous (so famous that his name gets mentioned everywhere) for being a professional photo hobbyist and a classic camera collector. He mainly writes articles for some amateur photo magazines and gets gigs to shoot professionally sometimes, but not too exclusively. He seems to lives in a kind of "easy-going" life style, and that's his selling point. He is an old man, from the first baby-boomer generation or so, and his audience is probably from the same generation, too.

    The term, "datsuryoku" means "easy-going", "relaxed", as opposed to being stiff and too serious about doing something, and it is often used as a fashion and a life style in the commercial media. It is at least for the imposed style of Fujita's work as it's mentioned so.
     
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  8. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    It's mentioned in both reviews mentioned above, including the Amazon listing. Maybe its a wild googlism....

    脱力 ?? 脱力写真家 ?
     
  9. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

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    "exhaustion system" looks like "datsuryoku-kei (脱力系)"

    "datsuryoku(脱力)" basically means "exhaused", "lassitude" or "lethargic", but as firecracker has mentioned "easy-going" and "relaxed" fit better.
    "system" -> "kei(系)" is used to mean "categolized as some(style)".

    I think firecracker has explained very well.

    It's like "散歩写真(sanpo-syasin)" - strolling photography, instead of keen street photography. It's not that much arty like Hiromix or Araki. It's just relaxing.
    Fujita, Akasegawa, Kuzumi and many other photographers have been proposing that kind of styles.
     
  10. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Yeah, "datsuryoku" style, which is like going to spa or something for relaxation is not only imposed on photography, but for a lot of other things, mostly consumerable things like clothing brands, music, food, beverages, etc.

    For some reason, in this country, the idea of "relaxation" is always emphasized, and it sells!
     
  11. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

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    Also "iyasi-kei" - healing and "nagomi-kei" - thawing out. There's a huge market:D
     
  12. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Thanks, that was my suspicion as well - but I can't read Kanji for beans.

    Interesting that he can manage to sell books and mags, over here he would probably just have a flickr stream with lots of people <3 <3 <3 'ing him

    Google translates the full title of "Woman Camera" as "The woman camera - catching the instant it is lovely & cute & clean with digital single-lens reflex!" (Am I the only one who thinks that "Real Simple" is actually a photo mag?)

    I read an interview (in PingMag) with Rinka is which she gushes a bit about Rolleiflex and then describes how shooting and processing are metaphorically like shopping and cooking.
     
  13. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Exactly! It sounds like we all live in some kind of sex-massage service industry... :D Why aren't they called, "nature-loving, urban-yuppie, quasi modern-art practitioners and worshippers" or something more descriptive instead?
     
  14. Removed Account

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    I wonder how it would work out trying to shoot datsuryoku style with a 20x24 camera while hiking in the Rockies... Could be an interesting challenge! Anyone?:tongue:
     
  15. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Right. The term, "datsuryoku" means "out of energy" or "no energy" in a normal literal sense, so as you said, it's realy like, "how?" It doesn't make sense because the term also sounds representing a slacker culture, you know, so do slackers hike up moutains and go, "yeah, we made it! Feels great!"

    But the things this has to do with the viewers' perception, and for their consumption, it seems the viewers are the ones who rule out so much about the styles that artists(photographers, musicians, actors/actresses, etc) present. They are talking about the surface quality in a sense that goes synthetic with the looks of the artists. They say, "oh, he/she(artist) looks such and such, because of such and such." Or "by looking at the work of xxx (the name of the artist), I feel relaxed." Or "I like the way this xxx (the name of the artist) lives his/her life." That's very cool/neat/idealisitc, etc"

    So, to some extent, to the viewers, it doesn't matter what real effort that the artists (have to make) is, the viewers only care about some sort of the "effortless-ness", that is their meaning of "out-of-energy." But those artists, or at least their marketing representatives including art curators, critics, and other reviwers know how to play this game.

    So, if you look at someone who works like a hardworking car-mechanic with his face covered with machine oil and lots of sweat, wearing a jumpsuit on a hot summer day, but is actually a furniture designer for Ikea or Muji, which have very clean-cut, simplistic and/or minimalist, and hip products, you as a viewer don't call his (life) style, "datsuryoku" or "iyashi", etc. This is the best example I could give you, and I hope I'm not confusing you too much with it.
     
  16. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I'm suspecting the American musical term is "easy listening"
     
  17. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Or "New Age", I think it shares the same idea. Besides relaxation, it is about the "soothing" experience that people talk about.
     
  18. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Bumping this a bit... on Friday night I met Rinko Kawauchi at Photoalliance in San Francisco. She was the featured artist and I get the impression that she does NOT like to be out in the public -- that outside her family she is highly introverted. I've found quite a few of her books (all but one, I think) here and in Japan & she was nice enough to sign them all (at the happy urging of her publisher -- her books are not normally for sale in the US, so when some blond guy comes up with a stack, I think the cash registers in his head started jingling :smile: ) *

    Actually once I got a hold of it "Cui Cui" is now one of my all-time favorite photo books. And "Utatane" is not far behind. "The eyes, the ears" (cover image below) is also quite a beautiful effort.

    Issues of "Cafe Photo" since this thread was new have been less interesting, Foujita seems much more aimed at fetishizing over old cameras and his portfolios have gotten increasingly slick and pre-planned. Power to him for getting it done, though....

    kb

    [​IMG]

    * If you know Kawauchi's work, imagine THIS: as I stepped out of the room after meeting her, what do I see but an unexpected towering blossom of fireworks rising behind Telegraph Hill.... !!!!
     
  19. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    The real sad news:

    http://www.genkosha.com/kimagure/2007/09/vol034cafe_photo.html

    In his blog he says he's been confirmed by his publisher that Cafe Photo magazine will be gone, and the 3rd issue is very likely the last issue. However, he says he's looking for a publisher to help him continue publishing the magazine (with the same title or not) even if it has to slow down to a few issues per year...

    I saw one issue in a bookstore, though. I didn't buy but liked it. Maybe I really should've bought it...